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Why fuel queues persist, spread – marketers

The long queues for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, which first hit the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) last weekend, and has now…

The long queues for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, which first hit the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) last weekend, and has now spread to various parts of the country, is as a result of a sudden disruption in the supply chain by natural factors.

This was the explanation provided Sunday by the Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN).

The Executive Secretary of the body, Clement Isong, said in a chat with Daily Trust that heavy rainfall across the country, particularly in Lagos, hampered ship-to-ship loading.

Others, he said, included berthing at jetties, truck load-outs and transportation of products to filling stations, creating a disruption in station supply logistics. Some independent marketers have also corroborated the position of MEMAN on the development.

Daily Trust findings showed that the acute shortage of the product has led to the closure of several filling stations in Abuja and beyond, while those still operating have seen long queues of motorists waiting for hours to purchase it.

Further findings showed that prices have surged, ranging between N800 and N900 per litre in some states, significantly higher than the official pump price.

Many motorists have expressed frustration over the situation, highlighting the challenges they face in accessing fuel for their vehicles.

The unstable supply of fuel has also led to fluctuations in transport fares, with some transporters hiking the fares by around 20 to 30 per cent in some cities.

fuel hawkers attending to a customer in jabi, abuja yesterday
fuel hawkers attending to a customer in jabi, abuja yesterday

 

Queues worsen in Abuja

The scarcity of the commodity intensified in Abuja and other parts of the FCT at the weekend, causing significant inconveniences for motorists and commuters.

One of our reporters who drove around the FCT yesterday, observed long fuel queues in areas such as Wuse, Airport Road, Jabi, Garki, and Kubwa as motorists crowded filling stations.

Our reporter also noticed that black marketers were taking advantage of the situation, selling fuel at over N1,000 per litre to desperate motorists. Some drivers, who ran out of fuel unexpectedly, were willing to pay up to N1,300 per litre to continue their journies.

One motorist, Musa Tijani, expressed his frustration, saying, “It is very annoying that for some days, almost all the motorists in Abuja have been struggling to get fuel. Those selling have long queues. The President Bola Tinubu-led government needs to resolve this issue quickly. We shouldn’t be battling with fuel in this country, especially at this time.”

Similarly, a commercial bus driver, Sunday Paul, recounted his experience of spending four hours at an NNPC filling station in the Abuja city centre on Saturday before he could purchase N40,000 worth of fuel. Despite queuing in the early hours of the morning, he said he ended up buying only 64 litres, compared to the 89 litres he used to get for the same amount.

 

Kano residents resort to electric motorcycle

In Kano, the price of fuel per litre surged from between N720 and N750 to as high as N800 per litre. Our correspondent in the commercial city noted that the prices vary across different fuel stations, with some selling at N780, N785, and N790 per litre.

Further findings by our correspondent showed that over the past three days, many fuel stations have either shut down operations or significantly reduced their operating hours.

This situation has led to longer queues at the stations that remained open, as they sell fuel at higher prices.

Amidst the fuel crisis, there has been a noticeable increase in the use of electric motorcycles in Kano as people are turning to such means to avoid the difficulties associated with fuel shortages.

In Katsina State, the fuel scarcity also reached critical levels, with majority of filling stations in Katsina town closed. The few stations that remained open were selling fuel at exorbitant prices ranging between N800 to N1000 per litre.

Most filling stations visited by our correspondent were shut down, exacerbating the queues. A motorist who purchased fuel at N1,000 per litre from one of the opened stations on Sunday morning noted that the stations selling at N800 were overcrowded.

In the ‘black market’, the price has skyrocketed to N1,500 per litre, with a 4-litre gallon selling for N6,000. This steep increase has sparked concerns among residents like Malam Zaharaddeen, who fear that the hike in fuel prices will lead to higher costs across all commodities, particularly food items.

 

Fuel stations in Lagos also empty

An assessment of the situation by one of our correspondents yesterday in Lagos revealed that the fuel scarcity is intensifying in that city too.

Major filling stations, including NNPC and Conoil along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, were observed to be closed, forcing motorists to embark on a long search for operational stations.

The only exception noted was the Northwest filling station, which was dispensing fuel along Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way from Maryland to Ikeja Under-bridge.

A motorist, who requested anonymity, said he managed to buy fuel early in the morning at an NNPC station in Abule Egba.

He expressed concerns about the resurgence of fuel scarcity. He also mentioned buying fuel for both his car and a 25-litre keg, noting that the fuel attendant demanded a higher price for those purchasing fuel in kegs.

The situation is similar in Ondo State. Several filling stations visited by our correspondent on Sunday had closed their gates, while those opened experienced extensive queues of vehicles and motorcyclists.

Mr. Adekunle Ajisafe, a motorist, said, “Many filling stations are not selling the product because it’s scarce. The few that do sell are charging between N780 and N850 per litre depending on location. This situation is taking a toll on me because I can’t work without fuel. My family depends on my income, and without fuel, it’s very challenging.”

 

Fuel hits N1,200 in ‘black market’ in Bauchi

In Bauchi, the fuel crisis has led many filling stations to halt their operations, resulting in long queues at the few stations tat were selling the product, mostly located on the outskirts of the metropolis.

Investigations revealed that the few stations that were open were selling fuel at prices ranging from N800 to N900 per litre.

Malam Salisu, a motorist in Bauchi, shared his frustration, stating that: “The filling stations have conspired not to sell their fuel. The few that are selling are charging between N800 and N900 per litre. I bought a litre for N800 in the morning along Games Village, but by the afternoon, the price had increased to N900. Many of the stations have stopped selling fuel altogether.”

Further findings indicate that in the ‘black market’, fuel prices have skyrocketed to between N1,100 and N1,200 per litre.

In Gombe, prices of the product surged to N800 per litre at filling stations, with many NNPC retail outlets remaining shut. Although there were no long queues at most filling stations across the Gombe metropolis, fuel is being sold at prices between N750 and N800 per litre.

Our correspondent, who toured the metropolis and parts of Akko local government area, reported that motorists do not have to join long queues, as both independent marketers and major dealers are dispensing fuel.

Daily Trust reports that only NNPC Limited retail stations in Gombe metropolis were selling fuel at N650 per litre. However, motorists spend long hours in queues before they can purchase the product from those outlets.

Sani Ahmed, a resident, expressed his frustration, saying, “I bought fuel this morning at N780 per litre. All the NNPC outlets where one can get it at a lower price are shutdown, and only a few are dispensing fuel. You have to spend all day in the queue before you can get it.”

In Adamawa, NNPC filling stations are selling fuel at a relatively lower price of N630 per litre, but even at such stations, long queues were a common sight.

Findings showed that black marketeers, taking advantage of the scarcity, were selling fuel at the rate of N1,100 per litre. Independent marketers fall in between, selling at around N800 per litre, with some stations charging as high as N850.

 

Artificial scarcity in parts of Port Harcourt

In some parts of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, motorists complained of artificial fuel scarcity.

Along the popular Aba-Port Harcourt Road, our reporter observed that while some fuel stations were open for business, others remained locked up.

Peter Okeah, a resident said: “There is an artificial scarcity of the product. Some stations are open for business while others are under lock and key. Those that are open are selling fuel at N750 per litre.”

In Kogi State, many fuel stations said they have depleted their stock, leaving only a few dispensing the product as of Sunday afternoon.

Our correspondent reports that the pump prices vary significantly across different areas of the state.

Along the Lokoja-Abuja highway, particularly in the Felele-Lokoja area, fuel dealers are charging between N850 and N900 per litre. In the main town, prices range from N900 to N950 per litre.

The fluctuating availability of fuel has also impacted black market prices. A motorcycle rider, Yusuf Abimaje, said he purchased a litre of petrol at Ganaja village, a suburb of Lokoja, for N1,000 on Sunday when he ran out of fuel.

In Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, the scarcity has led to queues at several NNPC filling stations, particularly in areas like Surulere, Adewole, and Asa Dam. These stations are selling fuel at the official rate of N580 per litre, which is relatively stable compared to other locations.

The ‘black market’ has seen prices soar between N1,000 and N1,300 per litre, indicating severe exploitation amid the scarcity.

Motorists like Wahab Akanji called on the federal government to ensure equitable distribution of fuel to both independent and major marketers.

Ismail Ayodeji, the state chairman of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), urged NNPC and marketers to collaborate effectively to avoid exacerbating the hardships faced by the populace with arbitrary fuel price hikes.

 

No queues in Benue, Taraba

In Benue State, particularly in Makurdi, the state capital, there have been no significant queues observed at filling stations as of Sunday evening. However, motorists were purchasing fuel at varying prices depending on the station.

A driver named Aliba Jones, waiting to refuel at Rain Oil, noted that while there was some initial apprehension about fuel scarcity in the past few days, the situation currently appears normal in Makurdi.

However, black marketers exploited the situation by selling fuel at exorbitant prices ranging between N870 and N900 per litre.

Also in Taraba State, particularly in Jalingo, there is no fuel scarcity as most filling stations, including the major ones, were selling fuel yesterday without significant queues.

 

By Seun Adeuyi, Adam Umar (Abuja), Salim U. Ibrahim (Kano), Dotun Omisakin (Lagos), Hassan Ibrahim (Bauchi), Haruna G. Yaya (Gombe), Victor Edozie (Port

Harcourt), Tijani Labaran (Lokoja), Tosin Tope (Akure), Amina Abdullahi (Yola), Tijjani Ibrahim (Katsina), Mumini Abdulkareem (Ilorin), Hope Abah (Makurdi), Magaji I. Hunkuyi (Jalingo)

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